Not that you were aware, but Barbie celebrated her 49th birthday last week (thanks, Lydia). My first encounter with Barbie was not a pleasant one since it dealt with a mischievous boy on our bus. You see, Barbie isn’t bad in and of herself. She could be just about anything, and that allowed little girls to imagine what could be. However, she was also caught up in a society that was marketing women as objects rather than people.
For a society that prides itself in the rights that it gives women, we seem to also seem to enslave them the most. We simply replace one form of enslavement for another and then expect them to be happy.
You see, ever since there was a camera, there has been photo manipulation. Long before there were computers and digital cameras, people were taking displaying pictures that were altered. However, the damage that has been done to our women today in the name of beauty and under the guise of fashion is the worst yet.
No one should take their life over how they look. And yet that is the very thing that we have happening in America today. Women compare themselves, their features, their waistline not just to models that are paid to purge, drink protein shakes and call it a meal, and who get to work out multiple hours a day– but to people that do not exist.
We’ve shown before that those “girls” that you see on commercials are changed entirely from what they look like via hair extensions, makeup, lighting and Photoshop. We’ve covered that even the models realize that what will be displayed will not be what they really look like. And yet after all of this I feel that many women share this perspective:
There’s nothing quite like a glance at a Victoria’s Secret catalog to invoke a flood of insecurities and feelings of disappointment. I know I’m supposed to be admiring the undergarments on those pages, and I can appreciate a well-made brassiere. But frankly, it isn’t a well-made product that draws my attention. It’s Victoria’s models. Immediately a body-comparison game ensues. Am I supposed to look like that? Those legs? That tummy? That skin? eyes? lips? My hair won’t do that. And I know that bra wouldn’t look that way on me.
It seems I’m not alone in my twisted worldview. A recent survey found that 70 percent of women felt depressed, guilty, and shameful after looking at a fashion magazine for only three minutes. . . . Few of us are unaffected by the desire for a “body by Victoria.”1
The truth is that you’re not supposed to look at the undergarments. You’re supposed to be blown away by the models. I swear that the VS site and magazine is more for men then women, as there are more men that are inside that store, more men desiring that their woman wear clothing and compare to that girl they saw in the magazine, etc.
So, you see, it doesn’t matter if the tricks are exposed or the secrets are revealed– women still believe that they must measure up against some standard based solely on what three numbers apply to them, what their dress size is and whether or not they look fat in this pair of pants. And all because of marketing to both men and women of private womanly things using thinner than average models and tools to erase blemishes.
It’s truly a much crueler form of slavery than they endured before!
Instead, we need to tell women where they get their real worth from, and what makes a real woman beautiful. We need to help them look on the inside instead of the outside. And we need to continue to shatter the myth that women should have to look like a super model in order to have the appreciation of their husbands.
This means that those of us that our guys need to stress to the women in our lives that we do not need them to look like a supermodel for us to be happy with them. We need to reinforce their attractiveness to us regardless of what someone else is wearing. We especially need to guard our eyes so that we can enjoy the wife of our youth.
As it turns out, we may hold the key to helping women learn these truths about themselves.
- Wanting To Be Her, InterVarsity, 2005, pp. 12-14